The San Francisco 49ers went into Baltimore last night and took a bit a thumping as the offense struggled to get much of anything going for sixty minutes. The defense made some strong stands, but also saw the Ravens offense take advantage of their conservative approach. The Ravens did not put up a huge point total or a ton of yards, but they were able to do enough to get the victory.
This is only the second loss of the season but I had an idea for a way to sort of blow off some steam following losses. Hopefully this is not something that will need to become too regular a feature. The idea is to basically have a day-after post where folks can just unload with any and all excuses for why the 49ers lost. You can go with fairly legit excuses, or you can get a little ridiculous and point to things that most of us might not consider in figuring out why the 49ers lost.
This is not meant as an open thread to bash the team. Rather, it's a chance to blame everybody but the team. The 49ers will do plenty of self-examination to figure out what they did wrong, but I know there are plenty of other areas for blame. I don't like making excuses for losses, but since it is out there for comment, why not take a post to just blow them all up?
The most prominent excuses I can think of are questionable refs and the quick turnaround combined with traveling across three time zones. The 49ers need to find ways to win these kinds of games, but I have no problem for one day laying blame on those outside factors.
I actually don't think the refs were as bad as people are making them out to be, but I do think they played things a little too tight last night. They made calls that technically were correct, but games seem to be more enjoyable and run more smoothly when refs are a bit more conservative in throwing flags.
For example, the Tarell Brown interception and pass interference call is a good example. Brown did have his hand on Torrey Smith's arm to a sufficient extent to draw a flag. It probably didn't need to be called, but it did. The other example is Chilo Rachal and Frank Gore getting in on the high-low block. When Gore went low, Chilo didn't really seem to be blocking high, but he did seem to get a hand on the pass rusher. I don't think the call was necessary, but why give the refs that kind of opportunity to make the call? Why not play with a little bit more discipline?
The other excuse is of course the short week coupled with the 49ers having to cross three time zones to play the game. It sounds like the offensive line was not quite prepared for some of the defensive play-calls and that led to a decent amount of the trouble they found themselves in throughout the game.
For the offensive line in particular, they actually spent a huge amount of last Sunday's game on the field given the defense only getting 15:44 of action. Maybe they were just tooooo tired out following all that action in the Cardinals game. Who knows.
Here is some video from the post-game interviews yesterday, featuring Alex Smith. He remains a very stand-up guy, acknowledging that he made some incorrect calls at the line that put them in bad situations and not just throwing the offensive line under the bus. I never anticipated he would, but it's a good discussion of some of the things that went wrong last night. You can view more post-game video at CSNBayArea.com.
Alex Smith Post-Game